Articles - Food Safety & Quality Control

What makes Belgium a pioneer in food safety?

June 2022

Articles - Food Safety & Quality Control

What makes Belgium a pioneer in food safety?

June 2022

Whenever people eat meat, they want to be able to trust that it is safe and of good quality.

When it comes to food safety and traceability, Belgium is among the world's best. At all times, the Belgian meat suppliers are in full control of food safety, traceability and meat quality.

The country’s approach emphasizes the importance of well-monitored meat farming to guarantee food safety throughout the entire production chain: from farm to fork. Get a closer look on how the Belgians keep raising the bar and keep the competition at a distance.

Unique institution guarantees full traceability

In Belgium, unlike in many other countries, complete control of the production and sale of food is in the hands of a single overarching control institution: the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC).

The FASFC was set in 2000 and has more than 1.200 staff members who carry out food safety controls concerning every aspect of the production chain. In addition, they regularly work together with about 600 independent veterinarians, 60 external laboratories and 9 national reference laboratories approved by the FASFC to perform analyses and inspections. Every meat plant in Belgium is required to register with the FASFC. This structure, from farm to fork, is unique and guarantees traceability across all levels and a particularly high level of food safety for the end user. 


Meat suppliers must ensure compliance

Belgium is at the absolute world top when it comes to traceability and food safety. This is due to a well-developed system of integral chain control (IKB) and integral quality assurance. Every link in the production chain, from farm to fork, must comply with strict standards.

The burden of proof for meeting food safety requirements lies with the companies itself. Companies have a self-checking system in place to address specific risks that may occur in the production process of meat. By placing the responsibility there, a culture of continuous improvement is created. As a result, Belgian meat companies offer an extremely high level of food safety to all their customers, worldwide.


Belgium permanently in control thanks to extensive monitoring system

Belgium’s extensive monitoring system enables the country to tackle unforeseen issues. Over 6.000 Belgian pig farms (and their 6.2 million pigs) are officially registered in a central database. Tracking is guaranteed by ear tags, enabling full traceability of the pigs’ origin and movements.

Officers of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) inspect the registration, infrastructure and hygiene obligations.

Multiple collaboration initiatives guarantee a strong network, enabling the FASFC to detect—and respond to—diseases rapidly.

BePork – a unified label dedicated to top-quality Belgian pork

This year saw the creation of ‘BePork’, a brand new quality label for Belgian Pork. With BePork the Belgian pork sector, wants to elevate Belgian pork, that already meets high legal requirements, to a new standard with focus on quality, through animal welfare, animal health and sustainability. The definition of added value is an evolving one. The dynamic nature of the themes BePork focusses on require to continuously pioneer and to remain market-oriented, while responding to changing economic and social needs.

Over 80% of Belgian pig stock is BePork-regulated. BePork has become a benchmark that the whole Belgian sector is orientated on.


Belbeef – a complete certification system for Belgian beef

Belbeef is an interprofessional organisation that unites all the operators in the Belgian beef production chain. It manages the Belbeef Standard, with which the organisation offers a complete certification system for Belgian beef, covering all links in the Belgian beef production chain. This system brings together all the common requirements of buyers of Belgian beef. It rationalises the number of inspections, analyses and related costs for farmers. More than 3,600 cattle farmers are certified. Together, they account for 85% of Belgian beef production.

Want to know more about the Belgian meat suppliers?

Belgian Meat Office is your first point of contact when getting in touch with the Belgian pork suppliers. Visit our website for more information.